My New Year’s resolution is to manage better what God has given me to glorify him with my life. Any suggestions?
Everything you have is a gift from God. One could categorize God’s gifts with five Ts: talents, time, temple, truth, and treasures. Being a steward (or manager) is managing God’s resources in God’s way because of God’s love. By managing his gifts, you glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The apostle Peter says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10).
That begs the question: How do you determine what your talents and abilities are?
- Try everything. Only by trying everything can you find out what you are good at and love to do. It’s like signing your child up for Little League baseball. You don’t sign your child up for a specific position. The coach will play your child at every position to see which one is a fit. Use that same mentality with opportunities in front of you: Try every position!
- Ask yourself what you love to do. Often what you love to do is what you are good at.
- Open your eyes to the opportunities around you. Who needs you right now?
- Ask someone you love, “What am I good at?” Sometimes you don’t see yourself as clearly as other people see you. Family and friends can give you an objective perspective.
- Take a “Time and Talents” survey online as well as a DISC personality test or CliftonStrengths assessment. It can be helpful to match your talents with your personality so you can best manage your talents to God’s glory.
Wasting time means using your time in a way that does no one any good, not even yourself. The apostle Paul offers perspective and motivation for managing your time wisely: “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:8).
Knowing that eternity in heaven awaits helps you prioritize your use of time on earth. Picture a time line that runs from 0 to 10,000 years. Your life would be a sliver on that time line. Now imagine that time line goes for 24 hours instead of 10,000 years. That sliver now represents about 11 minutes. Imagine waking up one morning to your alarm, but it won’t shut off. You hit your head on the headboard as you sit up. There is no coffee because the coffee maker broke and no hot shower because the water heater went out. How were the first 11 minutes of that day? Terrible. Now imagine the whole rest of the day going perfectly. You meet the love of your life and get engaged, you win the lottery three times without even playing, you get promoted at work, and on and on and on. At the end of that day, if someone asked how your day was, what would you say? You’d say, “This was the best day of my life!” You would not even think about the first 11 minutes. The same is true with this difficult sliver of your life on earth and eternity in heaven. You can give so much of yourself in this life to the glory of God knowing that eternal life awaits you.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20). Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. That puts how you treat your body into perspective. Scripture gives you great freedom in how you manage the body God gave you. Christians can make different decisions on that issue and still be good Christians. Where God’s Word has not spoken, it’s not good or bad stewardship; it’s just stewardship. If you remember that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, it will help you make those decisions.
Paul answers why. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.” In a sense, Jesus went to his Father in heaven and said, “How much will it take to buy them?” The Father said, “Only the most priceless offering will do.” And so Jesus offered himself on the cross.
“You were bought at a price.” That’s almost an understatement! What is the only thing you can do? Honor God with the body he has given you. It brings him glory!
God has entrusted us with his truth. 1 Corinthians 4:1 says, “This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed.” Part of managing God’s truth is appreciating how big of a treasure God has given you in his Word and not going to look for meaning anywhere else.
Think about what you have in the Bible. You have a love letter from your Father in heaven signed in the blood of Jesus. It tells you all the answers to life’s biggest questions, provides you with counsel for every situation, comforts you in every tragedy, and promises you the riches of heaven because of Jesus’ life and death for you. This is the truth God gives you to manage.
But how do you do that? Read it every day. Keep it pure by not trying to explain away plain truth or letting others attack the truth without a response. Read it every day. Share it with everyone in your life. Read it every day. Let it alone guide your life. Did I mention reading it every day? Blessings as you manage God’s truth because it brings God glory!
You need to recognize that your money is actually God’s money. Everything belongs to him (cf. Psalm 24:1). So how much are you to give? Instead of telling you an amount, God gives you principles. “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
“On the first day . . .” What would you rather have: contentment or a billion dollars? The right answer is contentment. You can’t have contentment unless God is the priority.
“Of every week . . .” You will want to give an offering regularly or whenever you have been blessed. As you are blessed, so you give.
“Each one of you . . .” Everyone who has received can give, even children! Young children can teach us something about managing treasures. Why did my five-year-olds want to give Jesus all of the $10 gift they had received? Because they implicitly trust me to provide for them. You can trust God too!
“Set aside . . . in keeping with your income.” Plan your offerings and make them a proportionate amount of what you make.
Stewardship is a chance to say thank you not just with your voice but also with your hands. It brings God glory!
Have a question, ask it here!
Author: David Scharf
Volume 110, Number 1
Issue: January 2023